INDIANAPOLIS - Sydney Holden (Los Angeles, Calif.) has been named USA Track and Field’s Youth Athlete of the Year after setting an age-group record and winning the sub-bantam National Junior Olympic Championships in the 400m.
Even at the young age of 8-years-old, Holden has been running track for three years with the L.A. Jets Track Club. This year she set a personal best in the 400m of 1:10.69 at the Region 15 Junior Olympic Championships to record the best ever performance for a sub-bantam girl.
"I am really happy and excited about winning the Youth Athlete of Year,” Holden said. “I was surprised when I found out because there are a lot of great athletes who could have won...I'm only eight years old."
Holden demonstrated great versatility as she also finished as the runner-up at the Junior Olympic Championships in the 1500m in 5:37.57. She also helped her L.A. Jets teammates to a national age-group record in the 4x400m relay as well.
“I know there were many quality and qualified athletes competing for this award,” said Holden’s coach Booker Woods. “I think [she] was more qualified than most because her dedication and determination caused her to develop a competitive range extending from sprints through distance races. I have coached other athletes with this type of range, but none at such a young age.”
"Even at such a young age, Sydney has already proven that she has a great talent," said USATF Youth Athletics Committee Chair Lionel Leach. "She is an outstanding athlete and a wonderful young person both on and off the track. We look forward to seeing her have continued success in the future.”
The Youth Athlete of the Year award was established in 2001 to recognize an outstanding performance by an athlete under the age of 19. Past winners have included Sanya Richards-Ross, LaShawn Merritt and Jason Richardson. A complete list of previous winners may be found here.